Homer, Alaska

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Homer is a city located in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population was 5,364.[1] One of Homer's nicknames is "the cosmic hamlet by the sea"; another is "the end of the road". A popular local bumper sticker characterizes the town as "Homer - A quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem."

Contents

Geography

Homer is located at 59°38'35" North, 151°31'33" West (59.643059, -151.525900).[2]

Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its most distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mile (7 km) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.

Much of the coastline as well as the Homer Spit sank dramatically during the Good Friday Earthquake in March 1964. After the earthquake, very little vegetation was able to survive on the Homer Spit.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58.1 km²), of which, 10.6 square miles (27.4 km²) is land and 11.9 square miles (30.7 km²) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.

History

Tiller digs indicate that early Alutiq people probably camped in the Homer area although their villages were on the far side of Kachemak Bay.

Coal was discovered in the area in the 1890s. The Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company built a town, dock, coal mine, and a railroad at Homer. Coal mining in the area continued until World War II. There are an estimated 400 million tons of coal deposits still in the area.

Homer was named for Homer Pennock, a gold mining company promoter, who arrived in 1896 on the Homer Spit and built living quarters for his crew of 50 men. However, gold mining was never profitable in the area.

Homer has long been known as the "halibut fishing capital of the world" and halibut and salmon sport fishing, along with other tourism, commercial fishing, and logging are the dominant industries in the Homer area. Homer co-hosted the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve co-host a visitor center with interpretive displays known as the "Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center",[3] and there is a cultural and historical museum called "The Pratt Museum".

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